Tag Archives: stitch

Connections at Gallery 45

Gallery 45 is a gorgeous venue in Felton, Northumberland. From Saturday, the gallery will be holding the latest exhibition of Textile Art made by members of the Fusion Textile Artists Network. The exhibition is called ‘Connections’. The theme has been freely interpreted by the members of the network, so there will be a wide range of subject matter and textile processes to view.

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Kathleen Thompson – Sunset 

We spent a weekend working with Textile Artist Shelley Rhodes in the Long Room at the gallery last Autumn. Some of the pieces in this new exhibition have developed from that workshop.

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Jill Paterson

The work will be exhibited in the main gallery and in the Long Room and will be on display from March 4th until May 5th. There will be an opening event where you will be able to meet some of the artists this Saturday, 4th March, from 11am – 1pm – refreshments will be available!

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Deborah Cooper

The gallery itself is open from 10 – 5 Tuesday to Saturday and 11-4 on Sunday.

For my part, I’ve been exploring the connection one feels with the landscape; how that natural space can be healing and soothing. I love the feeling of being somewhere that is so open, beautiful and powerful. The landscape precedes us and will continue long after we are gone. There is much research to show that connecting with nature is beneficial to our health and well being. I have been visiting and recording the landscapes of Northumberland and Scotland and it is this work that I will be including in the exhibition.

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Donna Cheshire – Glen Rosa;Swirling thoughts, tumbling water, 2017.

All the pieces are created using hand coloured fabrics and free machine embroidery. It is quite a slow process but it encourages contemplation  and I like the painterly effect it achieves.

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Donna Cheshire – Frozen in Time, 2017

As part of the exhibition programme, I will be running my Tin Can Metamorphis Workshop on Saturday 25th March. If you’d like to come along to this please contact the gallery direct!

Summer Time and the stitching is…

The stitching is mostly being fitted around the daughters on school holiday 🙂

We all went to the Last Shift Banner picnic on Saturday afternoon. It was great to see the school banner on display with its bigger brothers and sisters from local collieries!

The picnic was in full swing when we got there, with brass band, folk singing, rapper dancing and shuggy boats. A wonderful way to finish off the festival.

So now its time to get on and develop new work for Autumn shows and exhibitions. I’m really taken with the idea of doing some pieces based on hedgerow flowers. Has anyone else noticed how beautiful, and prolific, the wildflowers are this year? It would be lovely to capture them in stitch and cloth. I’ve been sketching and photographing for a while so I think its time to start experimenting now. Perhaps with soluble fabric as I think the spaces and layers between the plants are important.

These lovely flowers are on the bike route into town, a great border between the bike and foot paths!

I’ve had some time out to see the textiles art that local branches of the Embroiderers’ Guild have displayed to celebrate Capability Brown’s 300th birthday. The teatowel display at Gibside looked gorgeous, blowing in the breeze in the walled garden. There are more pieces on display in the chapel, and another collection at Wallington too. Well done to all my friends taking part in this – we had fun spotting all your work!

 

My Journey – Journey’s End

That’s it. I have stitched my last stitch, ends tied in, loose threads trimmed. Photos taken.

All of a sudden it’s done…and I feel quite bereft.

(Then I remember the aching arms and the workroom that really needs tidying.)

My last job is to take it to the framer’s tomorrow. Anxious thoughts..will it stretch well over the frames. Will the three pieces ‘marry up’ as I intend them to? Will there be any last minute ‘touch up’ jobs to do?

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There’s been some choppy waters – broken needles, manipulating large pieces of fabric through the small space of a sewing machine, time speeding by…aching limbs after stitching for hours on end, sometimes I felt it would overcome me but I kept on going

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Until finally, this week has seen me speeding towards the conclusion of more than three months of workshops, planning, drawing and stitching.

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And then all of a sudden, the harbour is in sight, Journey’s End indeed.

I’ve learnt so much through this project, stretching myself as an artist , working around issues of size and scale, incorporating other people’s stories into one theme, planning and delivering everything to a deadline. It has been a joyous task to work on, thank you everyone for the opportunity.

But now its time to move on, the April showers are holding back and I’m off to enjoy the sunshine. The triptych will be unveiled later this month and then I’ll write about the meaning behind the imagery, with photos of it in situ at Heaton Baptist Church.

Now, I think I left my family somewhere under a pile of fabric! Better go and find them!

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My Journey – storm clouds gathering!

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This is the first panel of the triptych under the needle! This is an upside down view of the storm clouds at the very edge of the piece.

It has been great to finally start stitching – definitely prefer this to all that measuring and crawling around on the floor!

To create the image, I select the colours from the spiral dyed and painted fabric, then tear them into small strips and place them in the right parts of the design. The plain white base fabric is covered with a fusible web – this means that I can see the outline of the design through it and, once the colour pieces are in place, I iron them so that they fix to the fusible web. this means they stay in position without the need for pinning or tacking.

I work on smallish sections because, otherwise, the manoeuvering  of fabric through the sewing machine can make some of the fused pieces fall off – very frustrating! (Can you tell I worked this out through experience?!) I  straight stitch with the machine set for freestyle embroidery, so I can go back and forth along the fabric pieces to secure them. Once they’re stitched in place I move on to the next section and repeat the process. Then, when an area is complete – the sky say, or the fields, I’ll work over it with more machine or hand stitching to add detail. On the clouds in the picture above you can see I’m starting to add some definition. I’m trying to create a squally shower effect at the bottom edge of the darker clouds.

So far I’ve included fabric from the pieces dyed by the following – Faye, Jill & Harry, Alie, Louise (mon), Prathiba, Rachel & Anna, Mumay, Emer & Harry, Louise (tues),Sarah W, Linda, Hannah & Reggie, Sue & Ted and two of the girls from Heaton Manor ! I’m not sure if you’ll be able to spot your colours but I’m going to try and keep a record of whose goes where!

I’m looking forward to starting the waves tomorrow – that will probably include some embroidery on soluble fabric to create the sea spray.

Be back soon!

Trace it and then trace it and trace it again..

Preparing any project is time consuming and I’m continually reminded of the adage ‘measure twice, cut once’ as I scale up the design for the triptych. It’s a 500% increase to get it to the right size, so there’s definitely lots of measuring going on!

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I scale up the design so that each piece is the finished size of 900 x 700 cm. These are on card and, once drawn out the image is strengthened with black marker (1)– this is so that I can see it through the vilene stiffener that I put behind larger pieces of work. The image is traced onto the vilene (2), then I cover the surface with fusible web and trace the image through onto the backing paper (3). The backing paper is carefully peeled away so that I can use it as a pattern later. Finally for this preparatory stage, I iron on the plain white fabric that will form the background to the piece – this takes a while as I want to keep the grain of the fabric as straight as possible so that when it is stretched onto a frame later it will behave nicely and not twist or pucker!

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Tracing onto Vilene

After taking a bit of break on Friday, I spent most of Saturday going through these preparations. Chuckling merrily to myself because I’d read an article online about how much healthier we’d be if we stood up more during our working day – how much more does standing up, kneeling down, crawling around the floor and stretching across a 210 mm wide design aid my health then? Being an artist is definitely not a sedentary job!

But hey, look – it was all worth it because here comes the sky!

I’ve been out for a blast of fresh air this morning – not so much blue sky but I did find some lovely images of boats and harbour walls up at Seaton Sluice to add to my research folder for these pieces..

Some of the waves out beyond the harbour will be good inspiration for the stormy sea section of the first panel too!

And you may recognise the Seaton Sluice headland in this smaller piece I’ve just completed – it’s on display in the Coast exhibiton at Gallery 45 in Felton this month

 

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Gallery 45 Coast Exhibition

What a lovely way to spend the day! We started with a trip to the lovely Gallery 45 in Felton, Northumberland, so I could drop off some of my work for the ‘Coast’ exhibition that starts tomorrow. There are several artists taking part –   Fiona Carvell , Sarah O’DowdPeter Davidson , Linda Mumba , Deirdre Foster  so there’s  a wide range of media (and prices!), go along and take a look!

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After that, we just had to go and try out the menu at the Running Fox Bakery just down the road on the edge of the Coquet River. It was a breakfast brunchy delight and kept us fuelled all day! (I’d recommend the Foxless Scone – eggs, mushrooms and tomatoes on a cheese scone – yum!)

So, then we thought we’d go and seek inspiration – and burn off some calories – with a walk on the beach. There was a glimmer of light and a sliver of blue in the sky and we hit lucky – I’m beginning to believe that the sun always  shines on Alnmouth!

I love the way the long grasses frame the views on Northumbrian beaches. It was a bit too breezy to hang about, or paddle (!) but a brisk walk on a Northern beach in a Northerly wind does clear the head!

We only saw a few other folks, along with a lot of oyster catchers, a beautiful sight on a fabulous Friday.

Seaton Sluice Surprise

Sometimes you find something surprising almost on the doorstep! Often walking across the beach at Seaton Sluice, I’d look up to the headland and think ‘That looks almost like Brittany – whitewashed buildings on the headland, seas all round’ and wonder whether it was worth exploring. One evening early last Summer, we finally went along for a look – it was fabulous – the sun was setting over the hills as we followed footpaths over the grassy headland, stumbling across crazy driftwood and flotsam sculptures and discovering the tiny Watch Tower museum. We walked around the headland and back along the riverside before a well earned (!) pint at the pub (the biggest white building).

Inside the pub we found information about the history of the area – 13th century salt manufacture and 18th century bottle works, and learnt that what we thought was a river passage was man made! The Cut had been blasted out in the 18th century to make a better entry to the harbour for bigger boats to take coal and salt, south to London.

It was so lovely that we went back the next morning with a breakfast picnic of hot (veggie) sausage sarnies, a flask of tea and the children! Then we discovered the next bay along  Collywell Bay, with fantastic rock structures standing proud on the beach.

This weekend adventure inspired me to get sketching, and the first result can be seen above. It is created with hand dyed fabric, appliqued and stitched to capture the texture and detail of the scenery. I’ve called it Spring Tide – Seaton and it’ll be on view at Gallery 45 in Felton from this Saturday, 5th March. I’ll be at the gallery the following Saturday for their Meet the Maker event when I’m promised there’ll be tea and cake!

In the meantime, I’ll be getting on with that commission…..